David Cameron is acting in a “hurtful” way towards traditional Tory voters by imposing social change through “diktat”, a former Conservative frontbencher warned as the party embarked on an inquest into its poor showing in the Eastleigh byelection.
As Tory MEP Daniel Hannan called on the party leadership to reach an agreement on “common ground” with Ukip, the party that forced the Tories into third place in the byelection, Eleanor Laing called on the prime minister to lead a “truly Conservative government”.
The soul searching among Tories came as Nick Clegg hailed the Liberal Democrats’ success after Mike Thornton held the seat with a majority of 1,771, taking 13,342 votes to Ukip’s 11,571. Tory candidate Maria Hutchings came third with 10,559.
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